What are you reading today/book club

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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby bels » Thu Feb 04, 2016 7:48 pm

Can someone link where it's possible to buy it other than amazon.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby bels » Fri Feb 05, 2016 9:02 am

I actually used to have an account on greenmetropolis.com which was a site for selling second hand books.

It closed down in 2k15 though.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby pirxthepilot » Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:21 am

@iliam
^ one of the rare occasions on which a great film was 'inspired by' a decent book (usually great films are based on bad books- solaris, godfather, etc). prose is a bit plodding ?(i've only read translation though). don't have too much more to say. it's 2016 and i don't talk about simulacra etc unless people pay me.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby ramseames » Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:55 am

Has anyone else read and watched the big short?

Really loved the book, liked the movie but it kinda fell flat at parts in comparison
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby mc-lunar » Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:24 pm

the movie was a lot of fun to watch, and was fairly accurate in what it did mention as far as i know

but if you don't know anything else and watched the movie, you'd come away thinking that the responsibility fell entirely on the banks

that weird scene where the lady from the rating agency had just gotten her eyes dilated was a suuuuuuuper heavy/thick metaphor and it was a bit too much IMO

iirc they didn't mention why banks were acting the way they did at all - just "banks are giving everyone mortgages" and not "the government created incentives for banks to act in riskier and riskier ways"

should probably read the book i guess!
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby pirxthepilot » Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:14 am

did anyone order/begin the morel book? not that anyone would care/notice, but i was just being facetious in my last post (mainly because @iliam is such an art film fanboy). its a great little novel, not only did it inspire robbe-grillet but bears comparison with incredible works of art like vertigo and la jetee. more expansively one could say the themes of memory, desire, trauma, repetition link (via freud and abraham/torok) to greek tragedy or, scrolling forward, to robocop or universal soldier. hope at least some here will read it
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby bels » Mon Feb 08, 2016 10:02 am

It's weird when you're sincere Pirx.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby Ques » Wed Feb 24, 2016 4:19 am

is there an online copy anywhere? no english bookstores in china that would carry this and i don't trust shipping it in from the outside

///

is nonfiction OK?

i recently read The Unravelling by Emma Sky, her account of her service as a British civilian with the American military in Iraq. would highly recommend, gives a wonderful account of the people of Iraq and how the conflict is so much more complicated than the American government would like to admit. she has a great voice and is very insightful throughout.

after reading the above I wanted to learn more about the rest of the middle east so I picked up The Arab Uprisings: What Everyone Needs to Know. The author does a good job of dissecting popular myths about the arab spring, and looks for similarities and dissimilarities between how events unfolded in different countries. he also goes back and gives brief histories of the various regimes and governments, but i found these to be a little lacking. if anything this book made me more interested in british, american and french involvement in the region earlier in the 20th century. to that end i'm next going to read The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power and From Beirut to Jerusalem to better understand what's going on with Israel, and so that I can feel better about my 'Jewishness'
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby bels » Wed Feb 24, 2016 8:25 am

I haven't finished the book yet.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby bels » Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:41 am

I've. finished it now.

I also watched Last Year At Marienbad so I'm fully ready to talk.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby pirxthepilot » Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:20 pm

ok
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby pirxthepilot » Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:43 am

i'm used to talking about these things in a certain context that i thought might be off-putting to you.. thought it might be better to hear your impressions first rather than steering the conversation
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby bels » Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:46 am

fair enough but I'll answer your question anyway: Morel was about a single week which repeated perfectly (It was impossible to alter the events, even to move curtains from the position they were in during that week) whereas Marienbad seemed to be about situations repeating but with slight variations which yes, built towards an ending.

I feel like I wasn't paying attention during any of "The tourists'" conversations and so struggled to form an understanding of them as a social group. I think this was probably intentional? I wouldn't mind going back and trying really hard to piece something together but I feel like the unreliable narrator and limited dialogue would probably stop me making any confirmable connections. I would like to know if anyone else had any ideas about the social interactions of the tourists.

I had "worked out" what was going on on the island before the narrator managed to, I wondered if that was what was intended, or it was just that the idea of Morel's invention is just close to the zeitgeist today. Maybe at the time it was a very novel idea and would twist people? Or nah? I feel probably not.

Up until the end I was sure we would find out that the narrator himself was Morel somehow, on the run for killing all the people he recorded. I found the actual ending better than that, except I never know what's going on with southern american politics.

The idea I liked the most was that when the narrator superimposes himself on the original recording, it highlights the possibility that many of the characters were superimposed on the original recording.

Also of course liked the descriptions and dreamlike quality of many of the scenes, particularly those underneath the museum. Also found myself attracted to the idea of trapping myself in a repeat of seven days which seems like it would almost be better than actual immortality. It seems like it would be better than life in general (as long as you got the right seven days, which seems like it wouldn't be that hard)

It did make me think of PKD (what doesn't) in concept though not in execution (PKD could never string together a plot like this, or have a female character that doesn't betray everyone) The idea that life is basically the same as our world, except there's this one metaphysical invention seemed very dickian to me.

Feel like these conversations go better when someone (@iliam) comes up with some prompts.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby pirxthepilot » Mon Feb 29, 2016 9:08 am

i think you're prob doing him a disservice, on the one hand the idea of technology as memory-prosthesis is as old as writing (or perhaps cave paintings) but the use of image tech which we all take for granted as internet teens would have been really in its infancy in 1940..?

ok here is another thought/prompt: dunno if anyone has read any robbe-grillet but his novels are known for their exhaustive, near-hallucinatory descriptions of a physical world, the most 'mundane' stuff: bits of orange peel floating on the oily surface of a canal, paint peeling off a wooden door etc. often what 'animates' this seemingly limitless spatialization is some act of violence. i think this links back to greek myth/drama, where spatial and temporal constructs are often founded on violence ( the cursed house of atreus, the rape of leda by zeus that yeats borrowed etc etc).
where do you think this act of violence lies in both book and film? (genuine question, like i said its perhaps 10 years since i read/watched)
from what i remember one of the film's takes does imply a sexual violation. but im almost more interested in the momentum we talk about above, like a kind of violent impetus emerges on a pure formal level..

edit: bela sorry am ill/on painkillers and not thinking v straight, of course that was rome but i guess the idea was inherited anyway)
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby bels » Mon Feb 29, 2016 11:13 am

You might be right about holodecks just not being so much of a concept in 1940. It's possible! Though I don't think that inventing such a device is that much of an accolade. They had movie cameras back then, no? Wiki says the main character is based off Louise Brooks who was a silent film star who went out of fashion in the age of the talkie.

I don't think that the book has the same violent momentum. In fact it may have the opposite. It starts out with huge tension (the fugitive running away from the house, trying to live in the swamps etc) but as he learns more and more about what is really happening the tension leaves.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby pirxthepilot » Mon Feb 29, 2016 11:21 am

yeah agreed, i think R-G has to introduce that note otherwise the thing would just be a series of semi-affectless scenarios.
of course in the book the act of annihilation is implicit because the invention kills its objects from the outset right? interesting to consider that innate distrust of technology, one could prob link that to the devastating technological advances used in WWI (and incidentally the notion of prosthesis, the cyborg, PTSD) and the revival of all that given it was early in WWII. all of which loops back to this thinking about trauma/violence as the engine of literature/narrative itself
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby bels » Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:44 pm

I didn't think it was clear that it simply kills its objects. It was implied that they "die" because their "souls" (...) are transferred to the recorded versions of themselves. So sort of death, sort of immortality, perhaps. Morel seems to think that it's more immortality than death (I assume)

On the flip, the way they die resembles radiation poisoning not "soul transferrence"

There's a period where the machines are described in what I thought was a very modern way as sleek, with hidden workings that are unalterable and basically unfathomable to humans. But then on the next page he seems to have almost total mastery of them which isn't so modern.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby pirxthepilot » Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:47 pm

ah, interesting. yes i remember theres an idea of immortality there. im pretty sure bioy cesares is riffing on that philosophical hegel/mallarme thread which suggests that 'naming' something or appropriating via language somehow kills it.
the machines you're referring to in the final para are the 'servers' keeping the whole projection going? i'd forgotten that part. and who has mastery, morel?
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby pirxthepilot » Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:49 pm

also why the fuck is @iliam busy posting rakuten bargs, isn't he supposed to be the intellectual around here
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby bels » Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:26 pm

By the end the fugitive seems to have a lot of control over the "servers"

"Finally my fear of death freed me from the irrational belief that I was incompetent. I might have seen the motors through a magnifying glass: they ceased to be a meaningless conglomoration of iron and steel; they had forms and arrangements that permitted me to understand their purpose"

He disconnects them and then later modifies the records so that his own image will live with Faustine.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby Cowboy » Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:41 pm

]Politics is not a Banana: A Journal on Vulgar Discourse

Very interesting read, brazen in the way it was meant to be. I've combed through it more than anything but it's so embracing of youth and destruction, almost the controlled prose of those who grow through their chaos.

Small intro to content below

Spoiler:
the book concerns public orgy as a means to subvert bio political spheres of influence. Very very clearly using Deleuze, Guattari, Baudrillard, and a few other continental wackos, it's main focus is to detail that the shock factor and repurposing of joint singularity can move beyond hyperreality and other aspects of culture. Public orgy in public space is to tear asunder the supposed plotted flight lines of the building and the body, to then create the sexualized, and to then intersectionally resist the state through the combination of the means.


Granted I'm not too deep into it yet, and may never open that pdf tab again, but all the same, fun stuff
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby pirxthepilot » Tue Mar 01, 2016 6:07 am

bels wrote:By the end the fugitive seems to have a lot of control over the "servers"

"Finally my fear of death freed me from the irrational belief that I was incompetent. I might have seen the motors through a magnifying glass: they ceased to be a meaningless conglomoration of iron and steel; they had forms and arrangements that permitted me to understand their purpose"

He disconnects them and then later modifies the records so that his own image will live with Faustine.



so first the technology seems opaque, unknowable.. even presented like this it seems a little disappointing that he's able to master it. in 'forbidden planet' when we see the krell servers we look down into some vast cavern, complete with neural-connective electrical impulses (i think, or did i just make that up). the humans can activate it but they're trespassing, its workings are literally unfathomable.
(also compare with fritz lang's contemporaneous 'der frau im mond': lang used the rocket-scientist hermann oberth as consultant, oberth originally wanted to build a working rocket which then would've been right at the limit of foreseeable technology. oberth later taught von braun who designed the uber-thanatic V2 (cf pynchon etc) and then worked on the apollo landings.)

my reflex impulse thinking about the ending is to find it unsatisfactory- compare with vertigo etc which embraces the idea that desire is by its nature unrealisable, as lacan would say the 'objet petit a' has to remain out of reach. there must be a jam in the system. but then i wonder if what's required is a shift in perspective?? granted the 'lives' of the images seems insipid - for me rather akin to a lot of modern new age consciousness actually- but in fact doesn't the fugitive take a step into the realm of the pure machinic. couldn't you see this as a very early manifestation of the post-human? as kittler says, technology was always- from its very origins- going to transcend our understanding. (theres a hint of this in the otherwise pretty crappy scar-jo vehicle where joaquin phoenix falls in love with her as an operating system- only to realise at the end that her capabilities are effectively infinite and so far in excess of his that he has to let her go)
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby bels » Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:25 am

I agree that I found the motors as sleek unfathomable objects more compelling and thought it was surprising that he suddenly understood them. However I liked that it was his "fear of death" that allowed him to achieve gnosis. He can't understand the machine that can make him immortal without being afraid of dying. I felt that maybe it was just a plot device to allow us to reach the final resolution anyway, but I normally suspect everything in novels of being there just for mechanical purposes.

Re: posthuman, there is a point where the fugitive records his hand only. His real hand then begins to die though the recording lives on, which is a little bit like a cyborg in reverse or something. We'll take your worthless ageing human hand away and instead give you a perfect immortal one except it can only do one thing forever and can live without you. And I agree that the final upload isn't so far away from the Kurzweillian dream of uploading your consciousness so that it can live forever, with the associated fears "What about my body, will it be the same me, will I still be able to learn and grow or will I be like the Dixie Flatline ROM from Neuromancer?" This immortality is a lot more like ROM (Whose last request is that he be erased) than transubstantiation into the intergalactic cloud with ScarJo.

Funny but I appreciate the ending because I feel like it does embrace the idea of unrealisable desire. His beloved is dead and all he can manage to do is act as though they are in love (we have no idea if this performance would fool an outside observer) and record himself in the act of this pretence. If the images do actually have the thoughts of the recorded then the best he can manage is to life a lifetime of pretending, if not then even worse he's died just to make a video that looks like they're in love. Makes me think of facebook/instagram/actual lives that we construct for ourselves

I've not read Kittler, what's the relevance?
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby pirxthepilot » Tue Mar 01, 2016 9:44 am

yeah agree with the 'fear of death' thing.
im also glad you talked me through the ending again, tbh i remember almost nothing of the book and had re-conceived in a sort of 'successful upload into ambient digital consciousness'. (i suppose the idea of repetition tends toward the ambient, kind of like brian eno). i'm sure it's much closer to the desire-impulse you're talking about- wish i had the book to read it again now.
and re being trapped in the endless repetition loop, always stuck within the same consciousness- am i right in remembering that in the film there was room for some kind of 'glitch' of dawning awareness for the woman each time- always erased in the next iteration?
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby bels » Thu Mar 03, 2016 6:52 pm

Can the other people who read the book chime in so we can move onto the next book I want something to read
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby rjbman » Thu Mar 03, 2016 7:24 pm

i enjoyed it
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby JewTurk » Fri Mar 04, 2016 12:37 pm

I started reading Diaz' /This is how you lose her/ and I'm enjoying it so far. But so far this year my favorite book has been Calvinos /If on a winter's night a traveler.../ without a doubt.

Id be happy to read whatever y'all read next.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby julius » Fri Mar 04, 2016 1:40 pm

I got hooked on Murakami in January have since been recommended Kazuo Ishiguro. I'm halfway through The Remains of The Day by him and I love it, I think it's the kind of style I've been looking for for a while
I'm down to check out whatevers next too
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby odradek » Fri Mar 04, 2016 1:48 pm

JewTurk, i'd recommend The Autobiography of Red, if only because I recently read it and enjoyed it a lot. fairly straightforward but difficult to describe, it takes similar liberties with language and storytelling that Calvino did. might be good for julius, too, but i don't want to make any promises. i loved Remains of the Day but am not very fond of the rest of Ishiguro's stuff (it's...ok) but drawing similarities between these two books just feels like reaching.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby bels » Sun Mar 06, 2016 8:17 am


https://ikon-gallery.org/event/dinh-q-le/

Saw this yesterday and it reminded me of Morel a bit. (deserted island with the remains of human settlement, alien technology)
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